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One of the best blasphemous Death Metal Bands alive is definitely INCANTATION. They are spreading their hateful brutality since the early 90’s and have been influential to many young bands. Now they have come up with another fantastic album simply called “Blasphemy”, it is definitely one of this year’s potential highlights. So I didn’t think twice and contacted INCANTATION’s guitarist and main-songwriter John McEntee to talk a bit about their latest effort...

First I would like to know, what are the latest news in your blasphemous legion called INCANTATION?
“We are now working with the legendary Vincent Crowley (fucking killer!!! - Stefan) for vocals for our upcoming touring. The US tour we are doing starts at the end of July in the US with: IMPALED, DECAPITATED, VEHEMENCE and DEAD TO FALL. And we are also doing a few tour dates in Europe in August including the Brutal Assault Fest in CZ. Besides that just doing a lot of Interviews!”

Have you already received some comments or response on your latest album "Blasphemy"? Personally I definitely love it and think it is better than its precessor, especially in terms of production and variety, absolutely great. The beginning of ‘The Fallen’ is one of the heaviest Death Metal song-starts of all time. I think you would agree to that, or not?
“It's cool you like the beginning of the ‘The Fallen’. It was just something that we really never did before and thought it might work out kind of cool! It was kind of a last minute thing we added to the song. We just started getting feedback for "Blasphemy" and it's all been excellent! I really think the return of Kyle helped to make a big difference from the "The Infernal Storm". We had more time to rehearse the songs as a band. Plus Kyle is a great drummer with killer ideas that work hand in hand with our dark riffs. Also Kyle, Joe and I did a lot of work on the vocal patterns and lyric writing; it was a great team effort!”

I heard about some delays and problems with the release of "Blasphemy" in Europe, as well as in the US, what can you tell me about that? I also heard that you changed your label, why?
“Yes there were many delays. Necropolis, right after we entered the studio, had some big money problems and we had to leave the studio after the recording of some of the basic tracks, then over the next 6 months when Necropolis got some money they would book a little more time, so the album was recorded in 4 different sessions in a 6 month period. There were other problems too, but that was the big one! We are just happy that it is finally released after all that hard work and stress.”

How would you describe your new album? Would you say that INCANTATION has developed further or did you stay the same? What do you like most on your new release? Is there anything you wish you would have never recorded?
“We feel very satisfied with "Blasphemy". We feel that it is a strong album with a great raw production, we really like the songs. We just do what we do, we are fans of Death Metal and we just want to push the limits of brutality in our own way. "Blasphemy" is a collaboration of everything we learned music wise and production wise over our music career. We also feel that this album is a step forward in pushing the limits of brutality! I think this release is a great representation of what INCANTATION is all about. The only release I really wasn't happy with at all was the "Tribute To The Goat" CD, but our supporters like it so it's cool with me. I'm also not too happy with the "Upon The Throne Of Apocalypse", just because Relapse should have added the never released split CD tracks from the same session of the "Deliverance Of Horrific Prophecies”. We will always try to push Death Metal to the limits of aggression and hate!”

Please tell me something about the line-up on "Blasphemy"! I don't know Joe Lombard yet, from what bands did he emerge, what happened to Rob Yench, any personal conflicts? Why is Mike still featured as a Session vocalist? In my eyes he has the perfect voice for INCANTATION.
“The line up for "Blasphemy" is Kyle Severn, Joe Lombard and I. Mike was a session member for the recording, because he couldn't commit to any touring. Rob Yench left only a few days before the recording, it wasn't a big problem, because he really didn't write too much for the album, we were quickly able to rewrite the song he had riffs in. Rob just told us a few days before the recording "good luck in the studio" and that was the last I heard from him! Very odd, but we got Joe Lombard to take his place and he is great, a killer bass player and a totally cool guy to be in a band with. He is a hard worker and dedicated to Metal! He played in a few local bands but nothing you ever heard of before. At this point we have Vincent Crowley working with us for vocals! He has a great voice and is a totally cool dude! Kyle, Joe and I put a lot of hard work on "Blasphemy" and I think our team work really paid off, also Mike did an outstanding job on vocals! We were really blown away!”

I was quite surprised to see that Miram Kim didn't create the artwork this time, I always loved her work. Why did you change the cover artist, any dissatisfaction with Kim? What can you tell me about Paul Ledney, is he the guy from PROFANATICA & HAVOHEJ? Those bands are great, true christfucking Black Metal. Will you continue working with him on your next releases, too?
“We think Miram Kim's art is great and we are really happy working with her. But when we were looking for art for the new album we couldn't contact her. We didn't know at the time that she moved and none of us had her phone # or other contact info for her. Paul contacted Necropolis and told them that he was doing CD art, and if they knew any bands that might be interested, and we were! It was a great idea, because Paul is the co-founder of INCANTATION and we thought it would be a great idea to have his input in the band after all these years! We think he did a great job and we will use some of his artwork for other stuff in the future!”

You wrote most of the lyrics on "Blasphemy", what can you tell me about them, apart from the fact that they are pure hateful blasphemy? What inspires you most and what would you say is INCANTATION's message?
“Most of the lyrics on the album have to do with the hypocrisies of all religions and how people like to use religion as a weapon to brainwash people to do what they want them to. We feel that you must cleanse your soul from your God and live life by your animal instincts to really be true to yourself! We are inspired by life, I see people blindly following their religious beliefs, without question. They live life with no real answers except "because God said so", or "Jesus said so" etc… We feel people need to embrace Blasphemy and embrace their true essence!”

What can you tell me about the production of "Blasphemy"? In my opinion, INCANTATION have defined their true sound with "The Forsaken Mourning Of Angelic Anguish" and "The Infernal Storm". Would you agree to that?
“I think both of those albums were a learning experience for us production wise, "Blasphemy" is the album that we took everything we learned over the years and made it all fit! Working with Bill Korecky is great, he really pushes us to our limits and has a lot of care in what he records!”

How is the US scene doing at the moment? I think Black Metal is quite ambitious at the moment and offers some good bands (for example WIND OF THE BLACK MOUNTAINS, SUMMON, BLACK WITCHERY). Also those baggy-pants-wearing Death / Grind-Guys are spreading in your scene, what do you think about those two branches of the extreme Metal scene. Do you like Black Metal or Death / Grind a là DISGORGE, BRODEQUIN? If not, why in detail? I miss a little bit the true old-school feeling, which is at least kept alive by bands like yours, SADISTIC INTENT or INFAMY. Do you think the real spirit is getting lost?
“Yes, there is a big change in the underground scene in the US, but unfortunately most people in America are trendy, and it is very difficult to break the trendy American way. But even I know that a lot of people dress with big pants and short hair and baseball caps they are still really into brutal Death Metal, you would never know it but it's true. I like the old school Metal way but people must be judged by who they are and not how they look. (Sorry, I think we had a little misunderstanding here, I don’t have anything against the look of those guys, I’m just not very fond of this type of music - Stefan). I do like BRODEQUIN, but over all I'm not a fan of mosh influenced Death Grind Metal. I think the US Black Metal scene is getting better in America, but with bands like Ibex Throne, Fog, Goatwhore, and Black Witchery. It sucks that there are only a few Death Metal bands left in the old school tradition in the US like Immolation, Corpsevomit, Goat Rot, and of course the godly , Sadistic Intent and Infamy!”

How are the relations between the bands in the US? Do you support each other or are there intrigues and struggles among the US bands as well? (Here in Germany, I think, the intrigues are sometimes more important than the music, what is definitely wrong, fuck those idiots!) Are there any bands you dislike or even despise, bands you think that are bad for the scene and the underground?
“For the most part bands in the US are cool with each other. A few bands and a few people here and there are real selfish dicks, but in general most bands support each other even if we don't like the music. In the US it's a big struggle to play in an underground band because of all the MTV-type trends. Some bands get a rock star attitude when they first get signed and get some success, but for the most part it blows over when reality hits them. My biggest complaint about the US scene is that most bands need to concentrate on writing killer songs and not worrying about being original or trying to making new ground, because they don't realize that mixing other styles of music with Metal is not new and does not show true talent! I would rather hear great songs, then so-called original bands with shitty song structures. A band mix of Rap, Jazz and Salsa mixed with Death Metal! That is just stupid to me! They should spend their time writing good songs, but they waste their talent trying to fit in lame riffs that have no need to be mixed in with Death Metal.”

What (underground) bands do you especially like at the moment? Any fantastic newcomers you would recommend? What are some of your alltime-faves and what did you buy recently? Any records, demos you always wanted to get, but haven't found yet? What bands inspired you most?
"The newer bands I really like at the moment are Abaddon Incarnate, Dormant Misery, Ibex Throne, Jesus Anal Penetration, Excommunion, Beheaded, Commit Suicide, Darkness Eternal, Eternal Gray, Evil Incarnate, Exmortem, Hypnosia and Serpents Aeon. Some of my all time favorites are Autopsy, Sarcofago, Sacrifice, Manowar, Dio, Possessed, Necrovore, Celtic Frost, Black Sabbath, Voi Vod, Sodom, Cadaver Feast, Headhunter D.C. and Morbid Angel, just to name a few. The last CD that I got was the new Impaled, great stuff and cool guys! Damn, there is a lot of stuff I'm really looking for. One thing I can think of is the first CHAKAL – “Abominable Anno Domini” on CD and VULCANO – “Bloody Vengeance” on CD. Demos? Fuck there are way too many I still want!!!!!! We are influenced by the ambition of old school bands from the mid to late 80's, like Death, Slayer, Terrorizer and KREATOR, just to name a few.”

What can you tell me about your latest live concerts? What do you like especially about playing live? Any disgusting or amusing anecdotes you can tell me? Any bands you haven't had the chance to play live with yet, but always wished to do someday? I bought the very intense "Sao Paolo Live" CD, you can be quite proud of your show I think, anything special to tell about this concert?
“We are very satisfied with the band’s line up at the moment. I really feel we have the will to make the performance the most aggressive possible. Playing live just rules! The raw energy and power in intensity! It's a great rush for me! Yes, there are many bands I would really like to play with, one is Sarcofago, also Dark Angel, Possessed, there are way to many to name, but some great bands we got to play with were Autopsy, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Slayer, Death, Defiled and MANOWAR. The Brazilian tour was great. There are so many great bands from Brazil and a lot of Die-Hard Death Bangers! It was a great honor and I think the live show as good concerting that it was 100% live with out our normal equipment! We are very thankful to Tumba Records and Moria for making the tour possible. And we look forward to returning there soon!!!!!”

Is there any chance to see you here in Germany once in a while? Any plans for a European conquest?
“Hell yes, we are doing all we can to book a full European tour. We are trying to work things out for a few shows in Europe in August at the moment and like I said, we are working on a full tour sometime in the near future.”

How does it feel to be inspiring to other, younger bands, that sound a lot like Incantation (e.g. Infernal Dominion, Dominus Xul). Do you think these guys are just wanna-be's or do you feel honored?
“That's great, it's a honor to have other bands be inspired by Incantation! Most bands that I hear that are influenced by us I like a lot! What better complement to a band, then when other people are inspired by your music enough to start their own with your influence.”

I'm always interested in what Death Metal musicians do in their all-day life (e.g. I heard that Will Rahmer delivers pizza in spikes and leather), what do you guys do for a living? How often do you manage to meet each other for rehearsals?
“Well, I have a wife and I also run a computer repair and web Development Company. Kyle is a construction worker and just got married. Joe works as a engineer and has a wife. Vincent has a factory job and likes to hang out. We don't do anything too crazy, we are just Metal heads, we all like to go to shows and hang out. We also like to collect hard to find Metal merchandise! We jam a few times a month. Kyle and Vincent live pretty far from Joe and I, but we make it work, because we are all dedicated to the band and the Metal life style.”

I think these are far enough questions, but before coming to an end, give me some last words and a message to the European INCANTATION addicts!!!
“Hail bothers of Blasphemy! We look forward to returning to Europe and performing for all you sick fucking underground Metal heads!!!!!!!! Also look out for another band I have been playing for called Funerus with my wife Jill, Brad Heiple, and Kyle. It’s killer old school Death Metal like old Grave & Crematory (Sweden). Visit the INCANTATION website at: www.incantation.com for a shitload of INCANTATION unbiased info. Thanks for all your support! Hail the goat!”

Thanks a lot for your cooperation, John, keep up writing so many killer riffs and godly songs, and kick the shit out of the mindless religious pest!!! Massive Hails, Stefan.

Stefan Franke

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